mon 26/09/2022

Shakespeare

The Tempest, Shakespeare's Globe review - occasional gales of laughter drown out subtlety

Alexei Sayle, in his angry young man phase, once said that you can always tell when you’re watching a Shakespeare comedy, because NOBODY'S LAUGHING. That’s not entirely true, of course, but sometimes a director has to go looking for the LOLs and...

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Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre review - Shakespeare’s comedy goes Hollywood musical

After gender-flipping the National’s Malvolio, the director Simon Godwin might have been expected to be equally bold with Much Ado About Nothing at the same address. A same-sex Beatrice and Benedick romance? Dogberry in bondage gear, zonked out on...

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The Tempest, Theatre Royal, Bath review - multi-dimensional Shakespeare classic overpowered by comedy

The Tempest, a rich and profound late work, is probably Shakespeare’s most complex and layered play: the combination of power politics, philosophy, magic and romance is dizzying and a challenge to any director who attempts to encompass the...

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First Person: director Richard Wilson on a musical midsummer night film premiere

In today’s near-normal times it is easy to forget how hard COVID-19 had hit the music industry, especially for touring orchestras like the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Masked, socially-distanced performances; streamed concerts from empty...

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King Lear, Shakespeare's Globe review - eviscerates emotionally while illuminating a society rotten with lies

Kathryn Hunter’s performance as Lear forges its heat from contradictions. She is as frail as she is strong, as detestable as she is loveable, as powerfully charismatic as she is physically diminutive. That she is a woman playing a man is the least...

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Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's Globe review - the Bard buried in bad choices

With tyrants licking their lips around the world and the question of how to respond to their threat growing ever more immediate, Julius Caesar director Diane Page eyes an open goal – and misses. A statue stands alone on the stage (this touring...

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The Merchant of Venice, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - enormous empathy

The Merchant of Venice is a comedy, you say? Shakespeare, as ever, refuses to be confined to convenient boxes, his best plays’ extraordinary pliability and longevity a testament to the piercing eye he cast towards the slings and arrows that assail...

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Henry V, Donmar Warehouse review - playing at war

Sharp suits swapped for combat fatigues, a people’s commander: you’d think that Max Webster’s production of Shakespeare's  surprisingly nuanced propaganda history-play would have special resonance in a week which has seen horrors and heroism...

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Hamlet, Shakespeare's Globe review - melancholy mash-up lacks chemistry

Hamlet isn’t often played for laughs. When David Tennant took the comedic approach in the RSC’s 2008 production, it was testament to his mercurial genius that his performance brilliantly conveyed the manic grief of a young man whose world was...

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Measure for Measure, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - this problem play is a delight

Measure for Measure may be the quintessential Shakespeare “problem” play, but just what has earned it that epithet remains a puzzle. Each generation approaches the matter from its own perspective. The developments of recent years, #MeToo most of all...

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The Comedy of Errors, RSC, Barbican review - Shakespearean Christmas panto

“Am I myself?” At the tangled centre of Shakespeare’s comedy of two pairs of identical twins, servant Dromio asks the question on which everything else hangs. The delivery is exasperated, the context bantering, but the words are the flimsy door onto...

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A Merchant of Venice, Playground Theatre review - Shylock supreme in a pared-down production

What’s in an article? Director Bill Alexander has titled his new production A Merchant of Venice, leaving us to ponder the implications that arise from his avoidance of the standard “the”? Is it a hint towards generality, broadening the focus of...

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